Mother who lost her son in train derailment probed for 'insulting' Erdoğan, court board

Mısra Öz Sel, mother of a nine-year-old killed in a train accident in Turkey’s northwest last year, faces two investigations over her tweets asking the authorities to find the negligent public officials in the train derailment. Sel's tweets were considered by prosecutors to be “insulting” President Erdoğan as well as the court board looking into the train derailment in Tekirdağ's Çorlu district.

Serkan Alan / Duvar

A public prosecutor’s office has launched two investigations into Mısra Öz Sel, who lost her son in a train accident in Turkey’s northwest in 2018, on charges of “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as well as the court board looking into the case of the train derailment.

The investigations concern Sel's tweets, which the grieving mother said will share the contents of in the upcoming days.

Sel found out about the nature of the charges against her when she went to the police station on Jan. 3, to where she was previously summoned to testify regarding her social media posts.

On Dec. 31, 2019, Sel said that she was facing an investigation over her social media posts and would go to the police station on Jan. 3. to testify. “Çorlu chief public prosecutor’s office is dealing with these kinds of things [investigation into her] instead of doing its real job,” Sel had said.

Sel lost her nine-year-old son Oğuz Arda in a train derailment accident in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ’s Çorlu district on July 8, 2018. The train was heading to Istanbul from Edirne, on the border with Greece, when it derailed in Çorlu.

Oğuz Arda was one of the 25 people killed in the train derailment in Çorlu.

The accident cost the lives of 25 people on board. In the aftermath of the accident, officials blamed the accident on bad weather, saying that the ground between the culvert and the rail collapsed due to heavy rain. Critics later shared pictures of the eroded land below the train tracks, saying the infrastructure was poor and the railroad was not properly maintained.

Sel said that although one and a half years had passed since the derailment, authorities had failed to find the negligent public officials in the incident.

After visiting the police station on Jan. 3, Sel told Gazete Duvar that as she did not want to testify there, she would in the upcoming days visit the Çorlu public prosecutor's office, where she would give her testimony.

'I could not understand why President was offended'

“If there is anything I want to ask the President, I do so by tagging him on [social media] posts. In this tweet [for which she faces investigation], no one has been tagged and there is no name in it. It is a simple tweet. Anyone who is following me can take this [tweet] personally; I could not understand why the President was offended by it,” she said on Jan. 3.

“[The prosecutor's office] has read all of my tweets one by one. Instead of this, if they had analyzed thoroughly the [train] case file looking into the death of 25 people, they would have found the ones at fault, as one and half years passed by [since the train derailment]. I call on everyone, including the court board, to do their job. I demand justice and will continue to express this. They will not be able to threaten me with these investigations. I stand by my remarks,” she said.

Railway workers stand at the scene where the train derailed in this July 9, 2018-dated photo.